Halloween costumes fail to dress up October figures as SRC calls on Scottish budget to put cash into shoppers pockets.
RETAILING in Scotland doesn’t get any easier and monthly sales figures are significantly down year on year once again after a performance that the Scottish Retail Consortium KPMG Retail Sales Monitor called “sluggish”.
Total food sales in Scotland during October this year were 3.2% lower than the same month last year.
Total sales (combining food and non-food) sales were down 2.4%. Like-for-like figures, which disregard stores that have ceased or begun trading during the period, show food sales down by 3.1%.
The Monitor’s analysis suggested food sales had not benefitted to the full extent from events that typically boost party food and drink sales – because Scotland exited the Euro 2016 qualifying stakes and the Rugby World Cup and Halloween occurred on a Saturday, which meant consumers were trick-or-treating on a weekend rather than shopping.
SRC director David Lonsdale called the results pallid and said they painted a disappointing month for Scotland’s retailers.
“Grocery sales were sluggish, albeit marginally ahead of the average over the past three months,” he said.
“Retail sales of non-food items nudged down a touch. Indeed the only category to report an increase was clothing and footwear and only once the impact of internet sales was taken into account. Halloween-related items such as kids fancy dress clothing did prove popular.”
Lonsdale suggested shoppers could be holding out for better deals in the run up to Christmas despite shop prices already being at record lows.
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: “There is no doubt the declines in Scottish retail sales in October are disappointing. With consumers perhaps waiting for heavy promotions, retailers were left pushing themed products for Halloween.”
Lonsdale concluded: “With the spotlight on the autumn statement and the Scottish budget over the next few weeks, retailers will be hoping for measures which put money in peoples’ pockets.”